August 17, 2008

$1.3m Grant Brings Proposed Marina Closer to Fruition


By Catherine Kozak

The Virginian-Pilot

Funds have been secured for a public marina and waterfront conservation area in Manns Harbor, making the proposed project more likely to become reality.

Approval of a $1.3 million grant last week from the state Clean Water Management Trust Fund clears the way for the state property office to make an offer on 13.45 acres at the end of the William B. Umstead Memorial Bridge in Manns Harbor, said Lee Wrenn, special projects manager for Dare County.

The state Division of Marine Fisheries also provided $3 million from its Waterfront Access Marine Industry initiative. An additional $235,365 grant is expected from the state Division of Coastal Management.

Wrenn said that Manns Harbor residents asked Dare County to sponsor the project, which will include commercial and recreational boat slips and ramps, as well as a fishing pier, decks, walkways, interpretative signs and picnic pavilions. Dare County has agreed to build restrooms and take responsibility for grounds maintenance and trash removal.

The state Wildlife Resources Commission would build the infrastructure, which is estimated to cost about $2 million.

"It's something that the community was interested in," Wrenn said. "There's broad-based support for it; there's a need for it."

A traditional fishing village, Manns Harbor has made do for years with ramps near the bridge to access the Croatan Sound. "I heard it's been used that way for 75 years," Wrenn said. "I understand they're in bad disrepair."

Property owner Outdoor Properties LLC of Greenville has told the state that it is interested in selling the Manns Harbor land for $5.75 million. The land was appraised for the state recently at $2.7 million, Wrenn said. T he state typically will get two appraisals before making an offer for property.

The property is permitted to accommodate a 39,600-square-foot dry stack marina, ships store and marina, as well as 11 single-family homes.

A 2.34-acre tract across from the proposed marina site, valued at $70,000, was donated by Manteo resident Malcolm Fearing in exchange for construction of a handicapped-accessible fishing pier, Wrenn said.

The county, he said, is hoping to interest the owners of two adjacent tracts, totaling about 35 acres, to sell.

"All of the plans have not been fully developed, but the preliminary plan probably has about one-third of the marina for commercial and about one-third for recreational, and about one- third for educational and conservation purposes," Wrenn said. "I think it really is going to be nice.

"It's an outstanding property. It's a one-of-a-kind location. That's very good fishing there."

Catherine Kozak, (252) 441-1711

[email protected]

current use

A traditional fishing village, Manns Harbor has made do for years with ramps near the bridge to access the Croatan Sound.

Originally published by BY CATHERINE KOZAK.

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